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When trying to save time in the kitchen or get organized this easy meal planning strategy is the first place to start. Cooking for your family doesn't have to be hard or complicated.
In my opinion - It's all in the recipe and the meat!
When you know what recipe you are going to use and the meat you are going to use is thawed and available, your meal is just as good as cooked. If you're a vegetarian or trying to use less meat, then think of the meat part as the main ingredient of your meal plan.
1. List the meals your family likes. If you need some ideas, just go to the frozen foods section of your grocery store. Don't buy the frozen dinners, just start writing down ideas. Having ideas is the key to easy meal planning. Not everyone is going to like every meal. I just tell my family that some meals will be their favorites and some won't. It's part of life. Check out some cookbooks from the library if you need more ideas or ask your friends what kinds of good healthy meals they fix. Try to avoid meals using "cream of" soups. These contain lots of chemicals and will sabotage your efforts of helping your family be healthy.
2. Get a 3 ring binder and some sheet protectors. Take the recipes your family likes and either tape them to a paper to put into the sheet protectors or put them directly into the sheet protector. This is now your recipe book. You can refer to this when you are making out your meal and grocery list before you go grocery shopping.
Always make a list of at least 10 meals you want to fix. Then make a list of ingredients you need to make those 10-30 meals. That can be your grocery list. When you come home from the grocery store, you know that you have all the ingredients you need to make 10-30 meals! It's a very liberating feeling.
3. Decide in the morning what you are having for dinner. Then you can have the recipe and the meat available and thawed and ready to go when it's time to prepare dinner. Then you just have to go through the motions of following the recipe.
You CAN prepare good healthy home-cooked meals with very little extra effort. Don't forget that children love to chop and stir. Get those hands working for you and enjoy the extra time you can spend together in the kitchen.
If you need some more help in this area, you can get my free ebook called Time Saving Kitchen Tips or you can download my ebooks called Smart Way Cooking (freezer cooking the easy way) and Cooking from Your Cupboard (cooking meals with what you have in your cupboard).
These two systems are what I personally use every day in my kitchen, so I know they work for busy homeschool Moms.
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